The Mysteryes of Nature and Art: conteined in foure severall tretises, the first of Water Workes The second of Fyer workes, the third of Drawing, Colouring, Painting and Engraving, The fourth of divers experiments, as wel serviceable as delightful: partly collected, and partly of the authors peculiar practice, and invention.
Imprinted at London for Ralph Mab and are to be sold by John Jackson and Francis Church… 1634
4to, 5 leaves (including the engraved title), pp. 112, (16), 121–142, (3), 150–192, (2) blank, 1 woodcut plate at p. 15. Fine engraved title-page with representations of the various parts of the book, separate title-pages to parts 2 to 4 with woodcut vignettes, numerous woodcuts in the text (some full-page). Contemporary speckled sheep (old repair to foot of spine and one lower corner, joints and leather of spine cracked, top of spine worn). Apart from the wear to the spine (which is mostly original) and a faint dampstain in the last part, a nice, clean copy. Provenance: signature of Thomas Willoughby, FRS, in upper margin of title, with his shelf-mark, a price on the facing endpaper and notes on the final blank leaf possibly in his hand; old bookseller’s description on front pastedown; bookplate of Leonard Harrison Matthews.
FIRST EDITION of the first comprehensive illustrated English book on waterworks and hydraulic machinery. It also includes sections on fireworks and incendiary devices, on drawing, painting, and engraving, and on remedies and recipes. The first part describes and illustrates all sorts of hydraulic machinery, including water clocks, and devices for drawing water by compressed air, evacuated air, and by steam — bearing in mind the early date of the book, the descriptions of engines driven by steam are of great technological interest. As a young man Newton neglected his school work as he spent so much time making mechanical contrivances, many of which he found in a copy of this book and made notes of them. (See Westfall, Never at Rest, p. 61). There is much of chemical interest in the book, particularly in the second section, on pyrotechny, which gives minute directions about the materials and various kinds of fireworks. The third book is concerned with drawing and painting, and an account is given of both mediums and colours. The fourth book is a collection of miscellaneous secrets relating chiefly to metals with some medical receipts at the end. “All the editions, more particularly the first and third, are moderately rare, and are not readily procurable in really nice state… It is not an absolute rarity, but on account of its contents and illustrations and the difficulty of getting it in perfect condition, it commands a certain amount of attention” (Ferguson). STC 1577. Ferguson, …Books of Secrets, 4th Supplement, pp. 10–12. Neville, I, p. 93 (1654 edition). Philip, Firework books, 18. Not in Krivatsy (or the NLM online) which has the second and third editions.
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